The Hypnotic Effects of Snow


Falling precipitation, if you’re doing any boring, repetitious task, can be hypnotic to watch or listen to.

Snow, while it can make a very subtle sound, is usually pretty quiet.

Here are two random videos I shot Monday. The one at the top is shot through a screen, which gives it a scruffy look, the one below is through a window only.  I was giving an exam at the time, so the natural sound is the sound of heater/blower in a classroom, and the cough in one video is courtesy of a student. I was looking around while shooting, so that, plus lack of tripod, means a lot of camera shake.

I didn’t just stare out the window and shoot random video. Most of the time during the exam, I was grading papers and watching the students. This video was shot during a brief between grading interlude, and is near the end of the exam period.

Warde Hall at Mount Mercy University is my favorite building there, due to its unique character. Two very tall pine trees grow in front of the building, and one of those trees provides the dark backdrop that lets us watch the snow.

I’m not sure what it is about things falling from the sky, but snow in particular, that provides such fascination. Are we hard wired to attend to is as part of the natural world from which we sprang? I can recall many a day in elementary school where all that I recall is: “It rained. Watched rain out the window.”

I was not a particularly good student in elementary school, by the way.

I think part of the hypnotic effect of snow is simply the random, yet repeated, motion Small objects enter our field of vision and silently float by. The supply seems endless, a quiet eternal procession. The process is often not as gentle as it sounds—a wind will make the snow silently float by as if propelled by little jet engines, and wind-whipped snow can have quite an impact on facial flesh, as any Iowan can tell you. But, it’s cool when viewed out a window with a dark, tall piney background.

Still, while it was cold Monday, the snow was not particularly intrusive. It didn’t pile up, it wasn’t whipped into drifts, it was just pretty to watch. And watch.

I think I need a fire, a new book to read and some hot chocolate. That (and having elves to grade the exams) would make the snow perfect.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Hypnotic Effects of Snow

  1. Toni

    I’ll join you once you get the fire going! I love watching snow!

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